Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 3:00 pm

Student Center Theater


1.      President Peterson called the meeting to order at 3:03 p.m. and asked for approval of the minutes of the previous meeting on October 22, 2013. He indicated that the minutes were posted on the faculty governance web site and no additions or corrections had been received. (See Attachment #1 below for web site reference).   The minutes were approved without dissent. 

2.      He then provided the following remarks on matters of interest to the campus:

a)      The President reported that Georgia Tech was getting close to reaching the $1.5 billion goal of its Capital Campaign.  Three classes of alumni raised $16 million for the Campaign during the recent homecoming celebrations. 

b)      The campus and the Atlanta mid-town community recently celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Technology Square.  Dr. Peterson noted that Tech had also been contributing to development on the south side of campus and efforts on the west side were underway.  The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has been contributing to Atlanta neighborhood development efforts in this west side area.

c)      Georgia Tech had formed a task force to develop contingency plans for any further federal funding interruptions should such occur.

d)      The Board of Regents has recommended some Georgia Tech projects for the Governor’s fiscal year 2015 budget.  These included a beginning on the renovation of the Georgia Tech library as well as renovation of the Caddell Building used by the School of Building Construction.  Funding for facilities for the Environmental Health & Safety office could ultimately also be added to this list.

e)      The Georgia Tech website has undergone a redesign to better support all forms of devices on which it can be viewed.

f)       A Strategic Plan Implementation Committee has been at work chaired by Prof. David Frost.  A website was created ( to provide news about implementation.

g)      Fall commencement ceremonies were planned for November 13-14, 2013.  Dr. John Cressler, Georgia Tech’s 2013 Distinguished Professor, would give the commencement speech at the graduate student ceremony and Dr. Santiago Calatrava, a notable architect, would receive an honorary degree.  Mr. Rodney Adkins, Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy with IBM and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, would deliver the undergraduate’s address.

h)      Georgia Tech was hosting a retirement celebration for 114 retirees the night of this faculty meeting.

President Peterson called on Provost Rafael Bras to provide additional comments:

i)        The University System of Georgia (USG) recently held a system-wide symposium at Georgia Tech on MOOCs in education and this was well-attended by representatives of institutions across the system and by others from around the country.  Georgia Tech has had a request out to its faculty for MOOC proposals through C21U.

j)        The application period for the new Online Master of Science in Computer Science program had closed and applicants were being evaluated for about 450 openings.  The program was scheduled to start January 15, 2014.

k)      Efforts toward renewal of SACS accreditation were underway.  Submissions of proposals for the Quality Enhancement Program were due December 6, 2013.

l)        Georgia Tech began participating this year in the Common Application program through which candidates for admission could apply to many universities.  The Offices of Admissions and Information Technology at Georgia Tech worked extremely hard to make this work despite difficulties in the system outside of Georgia Tech.  Due in part to the Common Application program, applications for admission were running significantly ahead of last year.  The objective was to enroll about the same number of students for next year but possibly having more applicants from which to choose was a good thing.

m)    Two international events were underway, France-Atlanta and Africa-Atlanta, in which Georgia Tech had significant leadership roles.

3.      Dr. Peterson called on Ms. Reta Pikowsky, Registrar, to present information about degree candidates for the November commencements.  Ms. Pikowsky reported that the lists of candidates for graduation had been reviewed by the colleges and her office and had been amended as necessary.  She moved that the list of candidates be approved by the faculty.  The motion was seconded and approved without dissent.

4.      The President then called on Prof. Sue Ann Allen, who serves as Georgia Tech’s Faculty Athletic Representative, to give her annual report to the faculty.  Her presentation followed closely the content of Attachment #2.  As an addition to slide 4, Dr. Allen stated that the university presidents in the ACC agreed to assign all television rights for each member institution to the ACC until 2027.  Similar agreements had been reached in other athletic conferences and this was expected to stabilize the memberships of the conferences after a period of many transfers.  Dr. Allen also highlighted significant improvements by the basketball and football teams in their academic achievements over the recent past.

Prof. Allen introduced Mr. Mike Bobinski, Georgia Tech Athletics Director.  He thanked Dr. Allen for the many important contributions she made to the quality of Georgia Tech’s athletic program.  He noted that the ACC was different from some conferences in that the Faculty Athletic Representatives were the voting representatives in meetings of the conference.  Mr. Bobinski said he was still getting acclimated to Georgia Tech and was very impressed with the quality of the institution.  He said that the academic quality of Georgia Tech was a huge selling point in recruiting the best student athletes.  Mr. Bobinski also thanked the faculty for their understanding and cooperation in working with the athletics program to accommodate special schedule requests.  He affirmed that the athletics program took very seriously the academic progress of student athletes. 

The faculty gave both Dr. Allen and Mr. Bobinski a round of applause.

5.      President Peterson called on Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Chair of the Statutes Committee, to present several proposed changes to the Faculty Handbook.  He noted that the first two were ready for a vote and the third was informational.  All had been endorsed by the Executive Board.

a)      Ms. Balsam began with recommended changes to Faculty Handbook Sections 3.3.9, 3.3.10, and 3.1.2 as documented in Attachment #3a

·         The proposed change in Section 3.3.9 was to the number of pages allowed in personal narratives in promotion and tenure packages.  She explained that somewhat longer narratives had become common but there still needed to be clearly stated limits. 

·         In Section 3.3.10, the proposed change was to eliminate a letter from the President that had previously come at the end of a periodic peer review.  Instead, the indicated letter from the reviewed faculty member’s Dean was sufficient.  The mention of the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee process was also unnecessary because that was already covered in Section 3.1.9 of the Handbook

·         In Section 3.1.2, the proposed change was to bring Tech’s policy into clearer alignment with Board of Regents policy.  A faculty member was not just entitled to receive a written performance review, it was mandatory.

Ms. Balsam moved that the changes recorded in Attachment #3a be approved.  No second was necessary since it came from a committee.  The motion passed unanimously. 

b)      The next topic focused on Section 7 and following in the Faculty Handbook as explained by Ms. Balsam using Attachment #3b.  As part of the major revision of the Faculty Handbook in April 2013, the faculty set aside some sections of the Handbook as potentially obsolete policies or information available in a more up to date form elsewhere.  Many of these sections also dealt with matters that applied to all employees or to all members of the campus community and they were not best located in the Faculty Handbook.  Since that time, the Transitional Sections had undergone a review, and Ms. Balsam presented recommendations mostly aimed at disposing of identified Transitional Sections in favor of better alternatives.  In slides 5 and following, links were presented to better information than presently contained in the Faculty Handbook.  Two subsections under the heading of Transitional Sections, namely 37.5.1 and 37.5.5, were proposed to remain active in the Handbook until such time as they could be further reviewed and updated and then placed in the appropriate place in Institute policy documents.  President Peterson explained that the Statutes Committee’s recommendations were consistent with the Institute’s plan to avoid stating policies in multiple places in the Policy Library and other sites.  Whenever duplications happened, they were hard to keep in synch.

Ms. Balsam moved that the transitional sections (except 37.5.1 and 37.5.5) be removed from the Faculty Handbook with the following provisions to help people with the transition:

         Post links in the Handbook as documented in Attachment #3b until July 1, 2014 and then totally remove the sections.

         Update the cross reference table available at the beginning of the Faculty Handbook.

No second was necessary since it came from a committee. 

Q. When policies were moved to other sites, would they be regularly reviewed and updated.  Ans.  Yes, the standard in the Georgia Tech Policy Library was to have a review of any policy at least every three years. 

Q. If a faculty member had a question about where to find a policy topic, would the best starting point be in the Faculty Handbook or the Policy Library?  Ans.  The answer could depend on how much this person knew about the Faculty Handbook but Ms. Balsam pointed out that the Faculty Handbook was contained within the Georgia Tech Policy Library.  If anyone was uncertain in the future about where in the Policy Library a certain topic could be found, the search function in the Policy Library website would help them find it.  She also said that for many of the Transitional Sections, the Faculty Handbook was already not the natural place to look.  For example, one would already tend to look to the Library’s website for information about the Library.

The question was called and the motion passed without dissent.

6.      Ms. Balsam then began to provide information on progress in developing new recommended definitions of membership in the Faculty at Georgia Tech.  The Executive Board had charged a special subcommittee of the Statutes Committee to develop these recommendations.  Ms. Balsam outlined the findings of the subcommittee in a presentation documented in Attachment #4a.  A detailed draft of possible modifications to the Faculty Handbook was also made available in Attachment #4b; the faculty could compare this with the existing Faculty Handbook in Attachment #4c

Ms. Balsam began by explaining the motivation for the subcommittee’s work and the history of the questions it was addressing.  She also pointed out that this effort was part of a larger effort to expand opportunities for all segments of the campus to make recommendations for improvement at Georgia Tech.  Concerning definitions of faculty, Ms. Balsam emphasized that the focus was on who would participate in faculty governance based on titles held by employees at Georgia Tech.  Individuals would participate or not based on their titles but privileges like vacation accrual rates for existing employees would not be affected. 

Slide 4 of Attachment #4a showed that all employees would have input and provide advice on general policies of the Institute.  Research Faculty and Academic Faculty together would advise on research policies and be accountable for the policies of the faculty as a whole.  Academic Faculty would be accountable for policies and procedures affecting educational matters and the curriculum.

Lists of proposed Academic Faculty and Research Faculty titles in slides 8, 9, 11, and 12 were consistent with the definitions and principles laid out in other slides.  These were noted as provisional drafts; final selections would ultimately be recorded in lists maintained online by the President’s Office.  Any corrections, additions, or deletions from these lists would only be made with the approval of the Faculty Executive Board and the President.

In slide 24, Ms. Balsam emphasized the effort of the subcommittee to meet with many stakeholders.  She reported that much was learned from these meetings and used to improve plans.  She reported that all the final recommendations would be brought to the faculty for two readings and votes because some of the enabling Faculty Handbook changes would be part of Tech’s Statutes.  These votes would be taken in the February 18 and April 22, 2014 meetings of the faculty.

Dr. Peterson acknowledged that a lot of work had been done by the Ms. Balsam and her subcommittee, and by Dr. Susan Cozzens and a predecessor task force, and by Mr. Scott Morris and others in the Office of Human Resources.  President Peterson talked about how important this was both for improving understanding of faculty governance and for increasing involvement of staff and postdoctoral fellows in campus affairs.

Q. Once all this was approved, would members of the Academic Senate and General Faculty Assembly immediately end their terms and new elections be held.  Ans.  No, existing representatives would be mapped onto the new structure and would serve out their terms.  As time would go on and terms end naturally, vacancies would be filled in accordance with the new rules. 

Q. Where was information presented in this meeting posted?  Ans. In links from the agenda of this meeting.  Ms. Balsam also reported that the subcommittee would soon prepare an entire draft website for how the Faculty Handbook would read when the subcommittee’s recommendations were approved.  [This subsequently was issued at]

Q. Would the curriculum committees be primarily filled by tenure-track faculty?  Ans. Yes, the curriculum committees would be restricted to tenure-track faculty members.  Follow-Up Q. Would that also apply to the curriculum committees in schools? Ans. That would be the purview of the faculties in the schools.  President Peterson gave some examples where some schools might want to include some non-tenure-track faculty in local curricular decisions but that would best be determined in each school or college.  Dr. Bohlander said that draft changes in the Faculty Handbook [Section 3.3.1 in Attachment #4b, or Section 4.2 in the dev2014 site] stated that curricular matters were the purview of the Academic Faculty but that each instructional unit was responsible for deciding the details of that. 

7.   Ms. Balsam moved that minutes of the Statutes Committee for meetings on 9/12/13 and 10/10/13 be approved. See Attachment #5.  There were no action items beyond those already approved in item 5 above.  The faculty voted to approve the minutes without dissent.

8.   The President then called on representatives of the Academic Faculty’s Standing Committees as follows.  In most cases the representatives followed closely the minutes in the committees’ files on the faculty governance website noted in Attachment #5 below and so this text was not repeated here.  The following was an outline of the material presented showing the representatives that appeared to make the presentations.  Slides were used by some of the presenters as indicated by additional attachments. 

Standing Committees of the Academic Faculty

a)      Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (IUCC) – Prof. Laura Hollengreen, Chair, summarized the work of the committee in Attachment #5a.

Minutes: 10/29/13, 11/5/13

Action items: From 11/5: College of Sciences – 1 new course; Economics – 2 new courses & modification in the BS degree in Economics involving changes in course requirements; Center for Academic Success – 1 new course GT 2100 referenced later in SRC; Biology – 1 new course; Applied Physiology – 1 new course; Math – change in the course description for Math 1501, new courses Math 1503 & 1504 Calculus I & II for Life Sciences, and 1 other new course; Public Policy – modification in the Law, Science, and Technology Minor and in the Pre-law Certificate involving changes in course requirements.


Representatives from the Schools of Biology and of Math affirmed that the Math 1503-1504 sequence was rigorous and much more relevant to students in the life sciences.  They stated that the rigor was high in comparison with 1501-1502 taken by other students.  In answer to a question, they stated that each school would have to decide if either course sequence was acceptable or just one of the sequences.  If a student had taken 1503-1504 and then changed majors, and if that sequence was not acceptable to the new major, there was a two-credit hour course that could be taken to reach the material missed in the other sequence.  There was not usually a concern in the opposite case.

It was moved to approve the action items and the minutes and this passed without dissent.


b)      Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee (IGCC) – Prof. Jeff Jagoda, Chair, summarized the work of the committee in Attachment #5b.

Minutes:  11/7/13

Action Items: CoC – 1 new course; CEE – 4 new courses; ISyE – modification in the PhD degree involving a change in the Economic Decision Analysis specialization; Public Policy – 2 new courses; and 1 posthumous degree.


Q.  What was the background to the posthumous degree?  Ans. The student had done well and completed the minimum of 30 credit hours, and it was the purview of the College to ask for the degree to be granted.

It was moved to approve the action items and the minutes and this passed without dissent.


c)      Student Regulations Committee (SRC) – Ms. Reta Pikowsky, Registrar, at the Chair’s request, summarized the work of the committee in Attachment #5c.

Minutes: 11/8/13

Action items: 1) The use of the course GT 2100 for students returning from academic dismissal, 2) proposed changes in academic standing policy, 3) addition of a “Unit of Credit Defined” policy to the Catalog of the Institute, and 4) changes to the Extracurricular Activities policies as they apply to suspended students including those suspended in abeyance.


Ms. Pikowsky explained each of the action items as follows:

         Course GT2100 was intended to provide support for students returning from academic dismissal.  To accommodate this though, approval was needed to allow an additional one-credit hour course. 

         The committee clarified that academic warning continued so long as the cumulative GPA was below standard, regardless of a single above standard semester.

         The committee clarified the basis of how a number of credit hours was assigned to a course.  This was not a new policy but one made more visible by inclusion in the Catalog of the Institute.

         The last action of the committee was to clarify how and when participation in extracurricular activities was affected by academic probation.

It was moved to approve the action items and the minutes and this passed without dissent.


d)     Academic Integrity Committee – Prof. Jeff Davis, Chair

Minutes 9/23/13 – no action items

It was moved to approve the minutes and this passed without dissent.

 9   Dr. Peterson adjourned the meeting at about 5 PM. 



Respectfully submitted,


Ronald A. Bohlander
Secretary of the Faculty

February 12, 2014




  1. Minutes of the October 22, 2013 meeting of the Academic Senate, Academic Faculty, and General Faculty.
  2. Report on the Faculty Athletic Representative.
  3. Proposed changes in the Faculty Handbook

a)      Recommended changes in Sections 3.3.9, 3.3.10, and 3.1.2.

b)      Recommended changes in the Transitional Sections following Section 7 of the Faculty Handbook.

  1. Concerning work by the Subcommittee on Faculty Definitions

a)      Presentation

b)      Proposed Faculty Handbook language.

c)      Existing Faculty Handbook

  1. Standing Committee minutes

a)      Explanation of work of IUCC

b)      Explanation of work of IGCC

c)      Explanation of work of SRC